Thursday, February 10, 2011

No Bluffing At Palmer's Poker Table

If Carson Palmer puts his house on the market next month, it’s another raise in his high stakes poker game with Mike Brown.

Carson opened with his trade demand to the Bengals president. Brown called Palmer’s bet by making a public statement that he will not consider trading his veteran quarterback. I have a feeling this is going to get ugly and drag on for quite some time.

We still haven’t heard anything directly from Palmer. But once his house hits the market, Palmer could be raising the stakes that he is not coming back to Cincinnati. It could also mean Carson’s wife and kids are not coming back to Cincinnati, and Carson will rent a place during the season.

But there are too many signs that Carson is not bluffing and he is content to sit things out. The problem for Palmer? Brown is not bluffing either, and Brown holds the most chips.

There are people close to the team that feel there is little or no doubt Brown is all-in on this hand. Carson can make demands, he can move out west, but he can’t change teams until 2015 without Brown’s blessing.

It’s not a good plan to threaten Mike Brown with a holdout or retirement when you still have four years remaining on your contract. Especially when you consider Brown has an investment in Carson. Two playoff appearances and no playoff wins in seven years is not a sizable pot when you consider the chips Brown has tossed Palmer’s way over the years. I will be shocked if Brown folds his hand before Palmer sits out at least one season.

Should Palmer go through with the threat, he is really backed into a corner. First of all, if he really retires and sits out the rest of his contract, there are reports he would be passing up close to $50 million. That is not a good plan for any portfolio, even one as impressive as Palmer’s.

Would he really come back to Paul Brown Stadium after sitting out a season, a game, or a training camp? If he or his family were upset with some boos last season, how will he be received after all of this? The only positive for Palmer is that he is so sick with how the Bengals run the organization that he has to leave to keep his sanity. If that is the case, he has a lot of company with the same people who were booing him last season.

For the sake of the franchise, Brown should cut his losses and move on. He should have done that with Chad Ochocinco a few years ago. It’s not like Palmer has played at an elite level recently. Based on his play the past few years, I would be looking to unload a big part of his remaining contract on a team starving for a quarterback.

But that’s me and I’m not the guy holding the biggest part of the chips in this game. Mike Brown holds the chips. Carson seems bent on finding that out the hard way.

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